Pruning Red Chokeberry for bushiness

Asked July 24, 2017, 3:41 PM EDT

I have three red chokeberry bushes in my yard, none of which are particularly bushy. In fact they are quite leggy. All are approximately 4-5 feet tall. They produce blossoms in the spring, berries in the summer and colorful leaves in the fall...just not very prolific. All get plenty of sun and water. Is there a way to prune them to encourage bushiness? Possibly cut to the ground? What time of year is the best time to prune? Thank you, Bethesda, MD

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Left unpruned, the shrub will not produce many new central growths to maintain a naturally rounded shape and will gradually spread by suckering away from the main rootstock.
When established, remove one in three of the older stems each year, pruning in winter to late spring. To restrict spread, prune off suckers around the shrubs below ground level. Although old plants sometimes respond by producing vigorous new shoots when pruned hard, renovation is generally not worthwhile.